EYFS Curriculum Outdoors

Achieving the EYFS outdoors

the early years foundation stage (EYFS)

Through the EYFS curriculum, Ofsted has set out three core areas and four sub-areas for children to learn and develop in. You can read more about it here.

Traditionally the EYFS is taught inside classrooms but we find the outdoors provides an enriching environment to achieve these learning goals.


Three prime areas



  • Active and interactive

  • Coordination, control and movement

  • Healthy habits and self-care

In the spacious outdoors children can jump, swing, balance, dig, build, run and roll safely. Using natural objects like sticks, leaves and mud, children get physically involved. A love for movement and be active develops which is great for future health.


Personal, Social & Emotional

  • Positive sense of self and for others

  • Respect and forming relationships

  • Self-reflection and feelings

Being outside encourages lots of play and activities with each other, creating ample opportunities to cooperate, support, share, show sensitivity to others’ needs and take turns. Cloud gazing is great for self-reflection too.


communication & language

  • Rich language environment

  • Confidence and skills to express

  • Vocabulary, speaking and listening

The outdoors provides freedom to speak and a need to be heard. Whether during daily routine rules and instructions or play, children are exposed to a range of vocabulary and answer “how” and “why” questions about their experiences. The ever changing environment brings plenty of new vocabulary.

Four sub-areas


  • Linking sounds and letters

  • Reading and writing

  • Access to books and poems

Nature walks and treasure trials are great for reading and children love spelling and writing using sticks and the ground. Even though we’re outside we have books and other literacy materials for children to read and engage with. In the colder days we do stories around the campfire and sometimes head to our local library for a visit too.


  • Counting

  • Adding and subtracting

  • Shapes, spaces and measuring

There are plenty of opportunities outdoors for counting and understanding order and ranges. Gathering is popular and this provides a great way to add, subtract and learn about doubling and halving through the placement of natural elements. We also come across all kinds of shapes and patterns regularly, and have plenty of space to measure weight and distance by getting physical with the natural world.

Understanding the world

  • Physical world

  • Learning about community, people and places

  • Experiencing environment and technology

Children are able to get hands-on with objects, materials and living things including bugs, worms, birds, plants, trees and much more. Each season brings new weather and wildlife so there is plenty of interaction and understanding taking place continuously. We sometimes use gadgets to see and understand further too, for example bird spotting with binoculars. On community visits we learn plenty about what’s going on around locally and beyond.

Expressive Arts and Creativity

  • Using a range of materials and media

  • Sharing thoughts, ideas and feelings

  • Using art, music, role-play and movement

Nature, animals and creatures spark plenty of ideas for singing songs, making music, dancing and role-playing. Children love to build, create dens, mud kitchens and bug hotels too. The outdoors lights up curiousity and imagine to express limitless thoughts and ideas. When on community visits there are great opportunities for children to try a range of new things too.